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Jackie Goldberg leads in LAUSD special election but turnout is crucial

Public education foundation of democracy



Jackie Goldberg (Photo via Facebook)

Stop and think about this: on April 10, Jeffrey Rosen, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Deputy Attorney General, refused to answer this simple question in his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing: “Was Brown v. Board of Education correctly decided?”

The landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision ruled that “separate but equal” racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The ruling is foundational to providing fairness and a level playing field for kids to potentially achieve success through the public education system. But while it’s shocking that the Trump nominee sloughs off its importance, schools kids are actually facing another kind of segregation based on money.

Jackie Goldberg is taking on that fight. The longtime out activist educator is running in a special May 14 runoff election for a seat on the Los Angeles Unified District School Board. She faces former public works commissioner Heather Repenning, who has the backing of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and SEIU Local 99, non-teaching LAUSD employees.

Goldberg is supported by almost everyone else in the northeast and southeast LA district—including Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz—who fears that charter schools are decimating public education. Her supporters include the teachers union and HONOR PAC.

Goldberg finished just short of the necessary 50 percent margin in the March 5 election, winning 48 percent of the vote over nine other candidates. Repenning came in second with 13 percent of the vote. Much of Goldberg’s vote came through name recognition from her fame as a Free Speech Movement leader at Berkley to her two terms on the LAUSD School Board where she fought against Rev. Lou Sheldon and his

Traditional Values Coalition to keep Project 10, Dr. Virginia Uribe’s dropout prevention program for LGBT youth at Fairfax High School. She also pushed for sex education and condom distribution during the AIDS crisis. In 1993, she officially came out as she ran for LA City Council, where she served two terms before running for the California Assembly where she served as chair of the Education Committee and for three terms, fought against right-wing extremists on behalf of LGBT students and parents.

“I think public education’s actually in trouble and it makes me very nervous and very worried,” she says. “Education has been the focus, really, of my entire adult life. And I am trying very hard to do something to change things.”

Goldberg is concerned with how state legislators have ignored the crumbling school system.

“It is time for them to put money up for the schools again,” she says. “We’ve starved the schools since Proposition 13 – and they are starving – and when you starve a school system for years and years and years, what happens is that in increments, you lose everything,” including the once standard nurses and librarians in every school.

The systematic underfunding of schools since 1978 “has opened the door to these billionaire privatizers who want to use charter schools to get rid of public education – to literally end it – so you don’t have these pesky things like running for school board,” Goldberg says.

In these private schools funded by tax- payer dollars, self-appointed leaders “run everything; they make all the decisions. If you don’t like it – go somewhere else.”

The “privatizers,” Goldberg says, are trying to use the historically underfunded schools to illustrate that “public education doesn’t work. We’ve got to get rid of it. It’s time to privatize it. Put it in the market. Winners and losers – close the ones that lose.

“Well, no,” Goldberg says adamantly. “Public education is one of the few places left in America that says you’re all welcome. Everybody’s welcome. We don’t care what language you speak, what country you come from – we don’t even care if you’re here legally or not. We don’t care if you’re smart or dumb. We don’t care if you’re severely disabled or you have no disability at all and you’re gifted and talented. We don’t care. We’re going to try to do our best for you. But the point is – our best for you is not good enough as long as New York spends $2 dollars for every dollar we spend. That’s crazy.”

Eliminating public education is a direct threat to democracy since only the elite will get an education. “In all of history, there are no democracies that lasted without a strong public education system. None. That’s critical. That’s what got me to do this,” she says. “That and the fact that there are three board members out of seven that were elected with heavy amounts of charter money.”

Goldberg says she is determined not to allow a board majority that looks out only for about 20% of the kids in the school district.

This is particularly important for the LGBT community since the religious right have historically used school boards as political stepping stones and now have two champions in the White House.

“There are two big issues for our community,” Goldberg says. “One is how transgender kids are being treated. And the second is that while we have excellent rules and laws, in an individual day by day basis, a lot of them are not being carried out. And I don’t think it’s out of animosity. In some cases it is. But it’s just not in the forefront of people’s minds and I want to put it back in the forefront of their mind.”

The election is May 14 but absentee ballots are available April 15. With her substantial lead, the only way for Goldberg to lose is if people fail to vote.

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Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Council bans homeless camps in 54 locations

Sitting, sleeping & storing property near fire hydrants, building entrances, driveways, libraries, parks, elementary schools banned



LA Homeless Service Authority workers Giovanna Miranda, (L) & Tania Trigueros (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – Setting up or creating encampments by homeless persons in 54 select locations across the city is now banned after the LA City Council voted 12-2 Wednesday to outlaw sitting, sleeping and lying in those places.

Utilizing new laws passed over the summer after contentious and at times acrimonious debate, the council enacted new rules regulating sitting, sleeping and storing property near fire hydrants, building entrances, driveways, libraries, parks, elementary schools and several other locations.

The council also directed city staff to ensure that the homeless were given proper notifications prior to action and that all departments expand staff and make available resources to help those affected by the new ban.

On Wednesday, U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced that the VA is going to place more than 500 unhoused veterans living in Los Angeles into permanent housing.

According to McDonough, the efforts will be in two steps, the first to assist approximately 40 veterans living on the street in what is colloquially referred to as the ‘Veteran’s Row’ encampment, located adjacent to the VA campus in Brentwood on San Vincente Boulevard.

That encampment has been highlighted by mayoral candidates visiting it frequently including last week by U.S. Representative Karen Bass, (D) who was accompanied by the VA Secretary.

The next step is move another 500 veterans into permanent or transitional housing by December 31, the VA Secretary said.

In the last census count of homeless people conducted by the County of Los Angeles, of the nearly 66,000 people experiencing homelessness, roughly 3,900 are homeless veterans.

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Los Angeles

LA City Council votes to suspend Ridley-Thomas over corruption charges

The 11-to-3 vote to suspend vote came two days after Ridley-Thomas announced that he would “step back” from his duties



Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas speaking at a press conference (Blade file screenshot photo)

LOS ANGELES – The city council voted Wednesday to suspend Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, 66, who was was indicted a week ago by a federal grand jury on 20 federal counts of conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud.

The 11-to-3 vote to suspend vote came two days after Ridley-Thomas announced that he would “step back” from participation in City Council meetings and committees. Ridley-Thomas, who has denied any wrongdoing, has said he will not resign and will fight the federal charges against him, KTLA and the Los Angeles Times reported.

The federal grand jury’s indictment alleged that Ridley-Thomas took bribes from a former dean at the University of Southern California, (USC) when he was a member of the County Board of Supervisors.

In a letter sent to fellow councilmembers Monday, he indicated that he would step back from his duties but he declined to resign from his seat. He said that he planned to fight the “outrageous allegations” and would resume participation on the legislative body “at the earliest appropriate time.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that in exchange for the payoffs, Ridley-Thomas allegedly supported awarding county contracts worth millions of dollars to USC. 

In the indictment Ridley-Thomas is charged with conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, then dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian into graduate school with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship, the Times reported.

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Newsom expands drought emergency urges Californians to conserve water

California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s. August 2021 was driest & hottest August on record since reporting began



California Governor Gavin Newsom (Blade file photo credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Following the second driest year on record and with near record low storage in California’s largest reservoirs, Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a proclamation extending the drought emergency statewide and further urging Californians to step up their water conservation efforts as the western U.S. faces a potential third dry year.

Bolstering conservation efforts, the proclamation enables the State Water Resources Control Board to ban wasteful water practices, including the use of potable water for washing sidewalks and driveways. The Governor issued an executive order in July calling on Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15 percent compared to 2020 to protect water reserves and complement local conservation mandates. The Governor’s action today comes as the Board reports that in August, California reduced urban water use by 5 percent compared to 2020.

“As the western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it’s critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible,” said Governor Newsom. “With historic investments and urgent action, the state is moving to protect our communities, businesses and ecosystems from the immediate impacts of the drought emergency while building long-term water resilience to help the state meet the challenge of climate change impacts making droughts more common and more severe.”

The proclamation notes that the State Water Resources Control Board may adopt emergency regulations to prohibit wasting water, such as hosing down sidewalks or driveways, allowing drinking water to flood gutters or streets, or washing a car without a shut-off nozzle.

The proclamation adds the eight counties not previously included in the drought state of emergency: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura. In addition, the proclamation requires local water suppliers to implement water shortage contingency plans that are responsive to local conditions and prepare for the possibility of a third dry year.

Expanding the Save Our Water initiative, a critical resource during the last drought, California has launched robust water conservation public education campaigns in partnership with stakeholders, including public water agencies. Statewide per capita residential water use declined 21 percent between 2013 and 2016 and as of 2020, the urban sector is using approximately 16 percent less on average statewide than in 2013. The Administration will continue to monitor the evolving drought conditions and evaluate all tools available to respond in real-time. 

California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures. August 2021 was the driest and hottest August on record since reporting began and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record. Today’s proclamation authorizes the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to provide assistance and funding under the California Disaster Assistance Act to support the emergency response and delivery of drinking water and water for public health and safety.

The Governor’s California Comeback Plan invests $5.2 billion over three years to support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience, including $815 million for emergency drought relief projects to secure and expand water supplies, drought contingency planning and multi-benefit land repurposing projects; support for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities; Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation to improve water supply security and quality; and projects to support wildlife and habitat restoration efforts, among other nature-based solutions.

A copy of today’s proclamation can be found here.

More information on the state’s response to the drought and informational resources available to the public are available at

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